What's "at stake" in your garden?
Several years ago, I began using Velcro plant ties to support our tomato vines, and I loved them so much that I now I use them for our climbing roses and grape vines, too.
Velcro plant ties are easy to use and very effective in giving plants the support they need without damaging their tender stems or rubbing sensitive canes.
Unfortunately, Velcro ties are not biodegradable, but you can reuse them again and again, making them a smart investment. We bought one large roll of Velcro ties over five years ago, and I'm still using it.
WHY CHOOSE VELCRO PLANT TIES?
They're really easy to use.
Applying Velcro ties is as easy as pressing your fingers together. There's no tying involved.
To make a Velcro plant tie, simply tear off a strip with your fingers. Then wrap the tie around the plant stem and the support structure, overlapping the tie upon itself and pressing it together.
Because it's Velcro, the strip will stick to itself, holding the plant stem in place without any further help from you.
To adjust the tie, simply pull the tie apart, and then reattach it by pressing it together again.
Velcro ties affix neatly and, unless you get the brightly colored ones, they blend into the foliage once plants leaf out. After several years of use, the ties for my tomato plants faded to light blue.
Velcro plant ties tear fairly easily using just your fingers, but when you only have one hand, they're a little trickier to use. A Velcro plant tie cutting dispenser solves the problem. And it attaches right onto your belt!
They're long lasting & convenient.
Velcro ties can be used again and again.
At the end of the growing season, I remove the Velcro ties from my tomato plants and affix them to our red, metal garden towers for use the next year.
I also move the Velcro ties on our roses as I prune in late autumn and in the spring.
The whitish underside of the ties (the Velcro part) is an uneven webbing that adheres to the colored side of the strips. Over time, the Velcro will no longer stick to itself; however, wearing out a Velcro strip takes some time.
In my experience, most ties can be reused for at least three years.That's not only a real savings, but it's convenient, too, as I don't have to re-cut ties every year. They're hanging on the stakes or attached to the canes, ready to be peeled off and reused.
OTHER TYPES OF TIES
Other things I've used for tying plants to supports.
I haven't always used Velcro ties for supporting and training plants, and I still don't always use Velcro. I also use twine and pantyhose and, sometimes, other plants like sunflowers and corn for "staking" morning glories and beans, respectively.
The winner is ... a tie!
I like twine for pulling up tough annual vines like hyacinth bean. But I rarely use it for tomatoes and roses.
Although the natural look is great and twine's biodegradable, it can be too earth-friendly, rotting and falling off the stakes or the trellis before its job is over. If tied too tightly, twine can also damage tender stems and canes—and (for me, at least) it can be difficult to tie onto tomato plants without breaking the stems, particularly if they're laden with heavy fruit.
As the growing season goes, so do pantyhose, sliding and sagging their way to little support. You may have to tie and retie them to maintain the right tension. And if pretty is part of your garden goal, well ... let's just say they're noticeable.
Still, pantyhose can't be beat for creating inexpensive little cradles for supporting melons, keeping the vines from breaking and keeping the fruit off the ground where it can rot and/or be attacked by pests.
Ties I Haven't Tried
Lately I've seen other types of reusable ties in stores and online: foam wire ties, twist ties, soft twist ties, vinyl stretch ties. Even rubbery looking "ribbon" ties.
I'm not sure how easy they are to tear from the roll with your fingers, how well they hold, how long they last or how difficult they are to attach, but ... when my roll of Velcro is gone, I just might give one or more of them a try.
Tie up your toms. They'll perform better if you do.
About the Author
The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years. She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.
Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.
Copyright © 2013 by Jill Spencer. All rights reserved.
katy on November 13, 2015:
this was ok
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on July 30, 2015:
I'm lucky that the local grocery store uses long velcro strips like this to tie several clumps of broccoli together. I save those and cut them into shorter lengths to use for tying up my lily plants to stakes and also to keep my clematis on the trellis.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 31, 2013:
Hi Deb--Yeh, it's sort of like space-age technology for the garden!
Howdy, Tebo! I really like the Velcro for thorny things--so easy to apply! Nice to hear from you. --Jill
tebo from New Zealand on March 30, 2013:
What a great idea. I think the fact it is not biodegradable is probably a plus as they will last longer and as you say be reused each season. With twine ties and other types you would need more length to tie the plant whereas with velcro you only need enough to meet the two ends. I must find some. Thanks for sharing.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 26, 2013:
My father used to use twine, and twist ties when I was growing up. I love the thought of the velcro!
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 25, 2013:
Thanks so much, Eddy! Have a great day. --Jill
Eiddwen from Wales on March 25, 2013:
Interesting and useful.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 24, 2013:
Hi Radcliff. Being able to adjust the ties easily really is handy. Thanks for commenting! --Jill
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 24, 2013:
Thanks, Suzie HQ! They really are a cool product. --Jill
Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on March 24, 2013:
Thanks, Jill! I don't think I had ever noticed these before. It looks like a good economical choice. I like that you can go back and adjust the ties as the plant grows.
Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on March 24, 2013:
What a great idea these velcro strips are, must invest in some! Thanks very much for sharing this simple but so useful idea. Voted up, useful, interesting & shared.